The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, H.E. Dr. Julius Maada Bio has commissioned the new two-lane Magbele Bridge and renamed it PC Adikalie Modu III bridge, in remembrance of the great Paramount Chief who pioneered the crossing many years ago. The Commissioning Ceremony was held at the new bridge on Saturday 14th May 2022, in the presence of hundreds of Sierra Leoneans, mostly from the Northern Region.
In his address, President Bio spoke about the importance of the bridge, which he referred to as “a shared vision.” “It is this shared vision to make the lives of people richer and happier, as stated back 66 years ago by Paramount Chief Adikalie Modu; the shared vision to make travel across the Rokel River safer; the shared vision to create a safe transportation, trade and economic corridor to move goods and commerce from and to Guinea, Kono, Kabala,Makeni and beyond to Freetown; the shared vision to provide safer access to health care with ambulances safely transporting patients, safer access to education, and safer access to other public services; it is that shared vision that has moved our development partners, the European Union and my Government to work on this brand new bridge.” the President emphasized.
The President also revealed to the chagrin of supporters of the previous regime that the European Union gave the previous government money to construct the bridge in 2015 but for two years they did nothing, and the EU was forced to cancel the contract. “As you have heard from other people, the EU even had to pay the $350,000 for doing nothing. That is over Le 4 billion for doing nothing. No bridge. Work on the bridge started in October 2018 when I was already President and in less than 4 years, we have completed a brand new bridge.”
The President went on to say that when he came to power in 2018, he promised to implement purposeful infrastructure in Sierra Leone and ensure value for money. President Bio hailed the people of Port loko District and outlined the many development projects he has taken to the District, including the $270million new airport, a 100 bed hospital, Free Quality education, the Marampa mines extension, electricity and more factories. The President concluded by thanking European Union for their invaluable support for this bridge and other infrastructural projects.
The head of the EU Delegation in Sierra Leone, Manuel Muller, expressed his happiness over the speedy completion of the bridge and thanked President Bio for his commitment. He also expressed the EU’s continued cooperation with the Government of Sierra Leone. The Director of the National Authorizing Office (NAO), Ambrose James, thanked the Government of President Bio for supporting the speedy construction of the bridge. According to Mr. James, the President was concerned about the lives of his people and the needless loss of lives as a result of the one-way bridge and was determined to change that forever. He thanked EU for funding the project and hailed his co-workers in NAO for their diligence in ensuring they completed the task to the letter.
Director General of Sierra Leone Roads Authority, Ing. Amara Kanneh, said in his statement that, the bridge is 7.2 meters on each side with a footpath of 5 meters as opposed to the old one, which had no footpath, noting that the load-bearing capacity of the bridge was guaranteed to take the bridge through its life span, estimated at 100 years. Other speakers talked about the socio-economic importance of the bridge and appreciated the work of President Bio is delivering this important milestone.
The program was climaxed with the symbolic cutting of the ribbon and the road was opened to traffic.